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"Well Googled" by HS Graduation


Graphic from Fluency21
In +Will Richardson's book, "Why School?",  he challenges educators to create opportunities and direction for students to be "Well Googled" by the time that they graduate high school. Being a user and supporter of Google Apps, this statement grabbed my attention. I initially thought that he was referring to the students being able to search for information safely, and with a discerning eye. However, after some interesting reading, and some discussion with my LTCC (#LTCC211) students, I came to the awesome realization that Will wants all students to create a meaningful, positive, digital footprint by the time they graduate from high school. I want what Will wants! Here's a summary of the why and how.

WHY
  • Educational resources are scarce while information is readily available and abundant.  (Yes, the laws of supply and demand from your ECON-101 course are in play here.)
  • A vast majority of our students are already connected to information through social media and web 2.0 tools. The Internet provides an ideal classroom for students to solve real problems, to display real learning, and present their knowledge to real audiences.
  • The assessment and grading practices that we have grown accustomed to will become extinct within the next decade. Creativity, authenticity, adaptability, and collaborative problem solving will drive transformative learning for people of all ages.
  • Students that are allowed to follow their learning passions and interests by connecting and collaborating with others, are more likely to become self-regulated, life-long learners.  (Name an organization that wouldn't want members with these characteristics.)
  • Nearly half of all future jobs will be based upon independent consulting or contracting.  (Who's responsibility will it be to prepare students for these yet unknown opportunities?)
HOW
  • Teachers - become passionate learners.  Establish and cultivate a PLN (personal learning network) Model transparent and responsible use of web resources that advance your own connected learning. Let students see how and why you learn.
  • Google search your name. Are you able to find evidence of your best professional work, or your best learning? If not, change this by sharing your talents, knowledge, questions, and reflections with your network.
  • Become familiar, better yet, competent with the tools used for connected learning. Establish a small collection of essential web applications (free & device independent) that allow you to collect, curate, process, and share information. My favorite examples include; Twitter, Google Reader, Zite, Evernote, Blogger, and Google Drive.
  • Model "dispositions for learning". Curiosity, persistence, creative problem solving, take chances without fear of failure, create a community of learners, emphasize literacy and skill development over curricular content.
  • Create opportunities for strangers to find your students on the Internet. Yes, this sounds a bit risky and unusual. But ask yourself, "will your students be discovered and appreciated in the Yellow Pages?" Provide avenues for parents and community members to connect with students and their learning.
"Well Googled" by graduation is an intriguing goal that, after some introspection, I have come to embrace. I am now in the process of revitalizing and sharpening my connected learning practices so that I can assist colleagues, students, and my own children to become better, more fulfilled, connected learners. Should we encourage, and expect our students to become "Well Googled"?  Your comments, questions, and concerns are welcome.



Supplemental Resources 

"How to Fuel Students' Learning Through Their Interests"-  +Mindshift

"You Will be Googled" - +Mashable

Digital Footprint Quiz - The Innovative Educator



Comments

Anonymous said…
I realize that being googled well is better than being googled poorly or badly (incorrect or misrepresentive information about one); however, i do not think that a person has to put himself out there in order to engage in collaborative learning. I am immeditely hesitant b/c of all of the things can go wrong with putting oneself out there. I think that we need to allow people who are comfortable with being completely 'out there' to do that. People who are not entirely comfortable should be allowed to engage online to whatever degree they are comfortable (ie: seek out information and research databases, follow blogs, utilize online search/resource tools).

This applies especially to students who are under the age of 18. Most high schoolers are far more comfortable and interconnected than a 40 something. Their comfort level with online exposure is greater than most of us who are 'old'. I am comfortable searcing information and looking at professionally published sites that convey information that I know I can rely on to be authentic and true--not just 'it must be true because i saw it on the internet.'

For me, I want to limit my exposure online, especially in anything that gives away directly or indirectly personal information that nefarious characters could/would use to harm me.

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